User Management in Debian and Ubuntu

The steps outline how to add, remove, and modify users on either the or operating systems.

Initial requirements for a Debian system

The majority of the commands in this manual call for superuser rights. Using the sudo command may result in the following error:

: sudo: command not found

Superuser mode must be enabled, sudo must be installed, and your user must be added to the sudo group:

su –
apt-get install sudo -y
usermod -aG sudo yourusername

How to add a new user?

Useradd and adduser are two command line utilities available in Ubuntu and Debian that you can use to establish a new user account.

Adduser is a user-friendly, interactive Perl interface for useradd, a low-level application for adding new users.

Run the following command to use the adduser command to establish a brand-new operating system user account with the name username:

sudo adduser username

As a result, a dialog will appear in which you need to enter a password and additional information:

Adding user `username’ …

Adding new group `username’ (1000) …

Adding new user `username’ (1000) with group `username’ …

Creating home directory `/home/username’ …

Copying from `/etc/skel’ …

Enter new password:

Retype new UNIX password:

passwd: password updated successfully

Changing the user information for username

Enter the new value, or press ENTER for the default

Full Name []: Name

Room Number []: 100

Work Phone []: 123-45-45

Home Phone []:

Other []:

Is the information correct? [Y/n] Y

The command creates a home directory for the new user and copies files from the /etc/skel directory there.

By default, members of the sudo group are granted sudo .
If you want the newly created user to have administrator rights, add to the sudo group:

sudo usermod -aG sudo username

How to delete a user?

There are two command line tools that can be used to delete a user account: userdel and deluser. We recommend using the deluser command as it is friendlier than the low-level userdel command.

To delete a user without deleting the user’s files and directories, run:

sudo deluser username

If you want to remove the user’s home directory and its contents, use the –remove-home flag:

sudo deluser –remove-home username

This will result in the following message:

Looking for files to backup/remove …

Removing files …

Removing user `username’ …

Warning: group `username’ has no more members.


How to change user password?

To change your own password, use the passwd command with no additional arguments:


In the system dialog, you will need to enter the old password and specify the new one:

Changing password for username.

(current) UNIX password:

Enter new UNIX password:

Retype new UNIX password:

passwd: password updated successfully

To change the password for another user, you need administrator rights and a username:

sudo password username


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